Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media: An Opinionated Digest by George Siemens - Mar.30 08

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From online children safety to mobile learning and to how participatory web tools have shifted the role of corporate communications, George Siemens takes you once again, like every week, into discovering how to make sense out of all the innovation taking place around you.


Prof. Siemens shares always great insights, valuable pointers found alongside his learning journey, gems and rare nuggets that can help you understand more and better how media and new technologies are affecting the way we work, interact and learn from each other.

Great food for thought.


Safer Children in a Digital World


Growing concerns about how safe our children are online are increasingly reflected in discussion, policies, and politics. Last week, during a parent-teacher meeting, we received a booklet on "safety online" for young children, signs that the conversation has moved from hype/panic, to some more practical steps and directions. I don't view online safety to be any different than safety in any other aspect of life. All things are potentially dangerous - a trampoline, a pool, a baseball bat. The key challenge we face is in teaching children how to participate safely in any activity.

I was skimming a report - Safer Children in a Digital World (.pdf) and came across this practical statement:

"Children and young people need to be empowered to keep themselves safe - this isn't just about a top-down approach. Children will be children - pushing boundaries and taking risks. At a public swimming pool we have gates, put up signs, have lifeguards and shallow ends, but we also teach children how to swim."

Mobile Learning Presentation


A few months ago, after seeing his Disruptive Mobile Learning presentation on slideshare, I asked Mike Sharples if he would be willing to deliver a similar presentation online. He agreed, so I'm pleased to announce that University of Manitoba's Learning Technology Centre has organized his presentation for April 2, 9:00 am CST (GMT-6). If you would like to attend, please send me an email: gsiemens AT elearnspace DOT org.

Designing With Failure in Mind

McGee's Musings-ok.jpg

Failure is a valuable experience. We learn more when things don't go right than we learn when everything goes as planned. Unfortunately, the concept of failure has negative connotations. We find it less than desirable and strive to avoid it, sometimes to the point of paralysis. And thereby miss the opportunities to learn. What has been your most valuable recent failure?

Jim McGee has an interesting post on the designing with failure in mind: "Human systems are interesting and effective because they are resilient. Good designers allow for the reality of human strengths and weaknesses and factor both into their designs. Too many poor or lazy designers ignore or gloss over failure modes. How many project plans have you seen, for example, that assume no one on the project team will ever be out sick?"

When Information and Interaction Change


I delivered a presentation today to the Canadian Defense Academy titled "When information and interaction change". Slides are of the session is available here. My main emphasis in the presentation was to explore how the different manner in which we access/use/create information, and the different manner in which we interact with others, defines and shapes our institutions and approaches to learning. As such, changes in information and interaction should impact design of learning and teaching.

Why Everything in Medicine Is Connected


Why Everything in Medicine Is Connected:

"But social networking is about more than just friends reunited; it's a framework for understanding even the most basic of biological processes...In its simplest form, network analysis can map ties between entities (whether elephants, humans, or genes). The same principles that allowed researchers to characterize the role of matriarchs in the social organization of the endangered African elephant species also illuminated the collective dynamics fueling individual donations to the 2004 tsunami relief fund, and provided the techniques to model the gene network that controls T cell activation in humans."

The term network is no longer broad enough to encompass its multiple uses. The article listed above describes networks within medicine according to structural patterns of organization. It works well in that instance. But in discussion of networked learning, things become a bit less certain. Does learning in networks refer to the web? Social ties? The neural activity going on in our neocortex? Obviously it refers to all of these concepts...and that is exactly the problem. When a field first emerges, one word describes it all. As the field specializes, more nuanced terms need to arise to provide more descriptive views of concepts. In the end, it'll still all be about networks, but our language of networks needs to be more precise.

Conference 2.0


What a lovely day. We have (yet) another 2.0 term: Conference 2.0. When we were working on our conference article for EDUCAUSE, I had one driving desire (well, I had several, primary of which was to actually finish the article): under no circumstances would we pick low-hanging fruit to title the article - such as conference 2.0. Fortunately, Teddy (editor) equally suffered from "2.0 fatigue".
From the article:

""People now have a voice, enabled by technology, to participate and be heard, and they're going to use it," Heuer said. "This has only just begun. It's only the first inkling of how people are going to seize the power from institutions. People in power need to find ways to get the audience to participate.""

The Authentic Enterprise


Just read an article on The Authentic Enterprise (.pdf). Ignoring for a moment that the term "authentic" is no longer very authentic and is therefore largely meaningless, the report presents an interesting perspective on how participatory web tools have shifted the role of corporate communications. The ability for a PR department to craft, control, and segment messages is now minimal due to web.

While it's not a revolutionary statement, the report makes the admission of the current state of information flow: "We are not in control". Like any individual in need of help/therapy, accurately appraising one's predicament is important to healing :). I wonder how many educational institutions have a similar understanding - i.e. that we no longer control information creation, flow, dissemination, validation, etc.


Originally written by George Siemens and published as weekly email digest on eLearning Resources and News. First published on March 28th 2008.


To learn more about George Siemens and to access extensive information and resources on elearning check out Explore also George Siemens connectivism site for resources on the changing nature of learning and check out his new book "Knowing Knowledge".

George Siemens -
Reference: eLearnSpace
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posted by Robin Good on Sunday, March 30 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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